STUART, Fla. — Relief is on the way for healthcare workers and medical staff in Martin County thanks to a new program. It's called Farm to First Responders, and it was created by the regional nonprofit Fresh RX.
The new food distribution program began Saturday at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital, with the help of Living Hungry.
It’s aimed providing healthcare workers easier access to healthy food options.
"So we want to keep people's immune system strong by providing nutrition through fresh produce," said Margaret Duriez, co-founder of Fresh Rx. "We know that it's just a small thank you, but we are really grateful to be able to do anything."
Employees at the hospital were all given a week supply of fresh bread, fruits and vegetables.
The Farm to First Responders program purchases produce from area farms, which allows farmers to stay in business while restaurants and farmers markets across South Florida remain closed.
“We are just amazed about how the community here in Martin is just full of love and help," said Martha Delgado, a registered nurse at Cleveland Clinic.
She said the kind gesture from volunteers gives her hope and motivation to press on during this tough time.
In addition to the fresh produce, hospital staff were also given hundreds of N95 masks for protection.
"It's great that they are trying to help us out in this way when a lot of our healthcare workers are on the front lines and they can’t get to these resources," said Anthony Maldonado, a clinical application specialists at Cleveland Clinic.
Beginning April 28, Farm to First Responders will distribute produce to first responders and furloughed medical workers at Jupiter Medical Center and nurses and hospital staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
Fundraising is now underway to help keep the first responder program growing. A $25 donation will cover the costs of creating and delivering the box to first responders, ensuring they have access to healthy, fresh foods during this challenging time.
To donate, visit freshrx.org.